Why I Write

Thursday, May 31, 2018

Is there anything more thrilling than seeing your finished book for the first time? To stand there admiring that beautiful cover, to breathe in the smell of paper and ink, to feel the surprising heftiness of that book in your hands. Even content that lives only as an ebook is often imagined as it would appear on a tangible device such as an iPad or mobile phone. These visions are powerful and help to spur us on as we undertake the really hard work of spinning the creative impulse into an art form.

But I believe that the activity of writing is so valuable in elevating the collective human condition that it doesn’t need the end goal of a book always attached to it. As a former publisher and someone who has been in the book industry for 35+ years, this is such a relief to actually say this. For me the process of writing is a path that brings me to my true nature—a noble and important benefit if ever there was one. For instance, even writing this post, I’m aware that my purpose may be to reach one person today who may doubt the time they’ve spent writing. In my opinion, writing is one of the best things we humans can do that generally serves the common good.

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For example, at the time of writing this post my reality is being stuck for a two-hour layover at the Phoenix airport on my way to Salt Lake City, perched on an uncomfortable stool sitting at one of those stations where everyone around me is anxiously looking for a place to charge their cell phones. People are lined up at each electrical outlet, jockeying for position and it’s a rather grim and somewhat desperate scene. Then I take out my laptop and start writing, and I’m suddenly transported to a different and better reality. I can see my fingers flying across the keyboard, the letters begin forming words almost all by themselves, and I’m absolutely delighted. I’m not the bedraggled traveler that I was just moments before but now a writer, a creator, a better version of myself.

The writing process has been transformative for me as I believe it is for most people. I suspect that you may be one of those people who is diligent in going about the work of writing. You may have goals or writing resolutions in terms of how many pages or words you churn out each day/week/month. If you don’t hit your mark you may feel that you’re not living up to your potential. But I’m here to tell you that the fact that you’re writing in the first place elevates you above some of your peers who are not so engaged. In my view, you are a star, a more perfect person, someone who should be celebrated and encouraged.

So I encourage you to keep writing if for no other reason than to delight and bring wonder to your own soul. Feel free to take breaks from prescriptive writing goals that you’ve set for yourself and write about your current reality if only for a few minutes each day. If you’re in your office, look out the window and just describe the scene before you. If you have coworkers, key in to conversations or sounds and just reimagine the work that’s going on. These little breaks of unpressured consciousness should not cause any anxiety at all. Rather they should be delightful episodes that help relieve the pressure you may feel in not only crafting your writing but in just living your daily life.

We all know that the world needs as many delighted souls as we can find. Let your writing lead you to a happier place, and feel free to share with us why you write by tagging us on Twitter or Facebook using @IngramSpark and the hashtag: #WhyIWrite.


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Robin Cutler

As the Director of IngramSpark at Ingram Content Group, Robin is committed to helping independent publishers easily get their content into the hands of readers around the globe. To help make this happen, she leads the development of IngramSpark and continues to support and refine the platform to better serve independent publishers around the world. She is a leader in the independent publishing space, and when not developing new programs and services for IngramSpark, she can often be found sharing her expertise at industry events around the world.